Social media strategy is not always about the number of followers you have or the likes/shares you get for your submissions. From a small business perspective, these are vanity metrics that do not necessarily convert into actual sales. Having said that, your social media strategy can define your brand and could have a long-lasting impact on the way your business is perceived and consumed by your target customers.
Branding is not something only big businesses like Nike and Coca Cola have to worry about. How consumers perceive your brand defines the kind of buyers you attract, their average purchase volume and also their loyalty to your business. A small business that grows its social media following by offering a lot of exclusive discounts to its followers could end up establishing itself as a low-cost brand. Such a strategy would attract coupon hunters to your business who are seldom loyal and are likely to jump ship when you begin focusing on profitability. In short, your marketing strategy that includes what you do on social media can impact the way customers look at your business and this drives your bottom line.
Building trust is one of the key objectives of any marketing campaign. Your social media engagement could define your brand among customers. As pointed out earlier, a business that relies on aggressive discount campaigns to acquire social media following may end up attracting the wrong kind of customers to their business. But this is not all. Businesses rely on social media groups to spread the word about their product among target customers. But blatant self-promotion on social media groups comes across as spammy and could bring down the trustworthiness of your brand.
By now, it has been well-established that your social media reputation (likes, tweets, etc.) are not really a ranking signal for your search engine presence. However, there is a direct correlation between social media visibility and search rankings. Web pages that attract a lot of social media attention eventually end up getting linked organically by viewers who own their own websites. This helps to rank your site better on search engines.
But that is not all. Even if your website does get ranked on Google for its relevant search terms, it is more likely to get clicked if you had a trusted brand. A customer looking up ‘designer shoes’ is more likely to click on Nike’s website rather than hit a site that they have never heard of. Your social media presence influences branding and both these factors together not only drive your search engine rankings but also the eventual click-through and conversion rate.
A study published by researchers from the Turkey-based Yalova University found a significant impact of social media towards brand loyalty. The research found that advantageous campaigns, relevant content, popular content and cross-platform appearance on social media drove a customer’s loyalty towards a brand. Advantageous campaigns refer to social media campaigns that showcase the benefits, values, and advantages of their product. The Yalova University study found this to be the most effective driver of brand loyalty through social media.
Finally, it is important to remember that social media marketing is not just about conversions and sales. A well-executed social media strategy can help branding in other ways as well. A study published by researchers at the Duke University has found a correlation between social media engagement and a company’s public brand. In addition to the marketing component of social media, the researchers also found that employees who are active on social media help represent the company to the outside world. This has a multiplier effect and establishes an enhanced talent acquisition process, improved employee retention and finally employee productivity. All of this enriches a company’s culture which, thanks to social media, builds a business brand that drives better interest among potential employees.
Social media is critical to establishing a unique brand for your business. This not only influences the kind of customers you acquire but also the profile of candidates applying to work with you. A well-planned social media strategy thus goes beyond marketing into human resources and business planning as well.Back to Small Business blogs
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